Local First Arizona program offers community members discounts, access to exclusive events

(Alexis Macklin/DD)
Local First Arizona, founded and directed by Kimber Lanning, will officially launch their Localist program in early November. The nonprofit organization has their Phoenix office in Modified Arts gallery. (Alexis Macklin/DD)

Local First Arizona will launch a new program called Localist this fall that will give community members access to special discounts and exclusive events.

Community members who join will be granted access to specials and exclusive events, like DJing at the bar and restaurant Windsor or attending an exclusive concert at the record store Stinkweeds.

Local First Arizona is a nonprofit organization that supports local businesses in Arizona.

“Local First has been about helping businesses, but for the first time the individual can get involved,” Local First Arizona founder and director Kimber Lanning said. “This is a cheap way for people to get involved with local business.”

Lanning said member events would include discounts, special events and free food.

Each business owner who is involved with Local First will help to plan events and specials on their own and then use the program to promote them.

Localist members will connect to each other using newsletters and social media with information about events. Members will also be able to coordinate to attend events and specials together, Lanning said.

(Courtesy of Local First Arizona)
The Localist program aims to help connect both Arizona businesses and the people who support them through special events and discounts. Membership starts at $20 a year. (Courtesy of Local First Arizona)

The program had a soft launch at ArtelPhx after Ben Bethel, the owner and general manager of the Clarendon Hotel, reached out to Local First. People who signed up to receive information on Local First’s website got free admission to the VIP event.

“The event went wonderfully. It was a great turnout with the right people who support the local business world,” Bethel said.

Georganne Bryant, owner of the boutique Frances Vintage, said she sees the program as a way for local businesses to give back to the community.

“After the recession the community members really came out and supported our local businesses. This is a way to give back to our supporters and get even more people to support,” Bryant said.

Frances will give styling sessions to members. Bryant said she was looking for a special that would give personal service.

Lanning said she expects the program to launch Nov. 9 at the Certified Local Fall Festival with events happening throughout the state.

The program will cost $20 a year, but members can pay $30 the first year if they want a Localist T-shirt.

Contact the reporter at amsorrel@asu.edu